FBI reportedly opens criminal investigation into Baltimore bridge collapse

<span>The steel frame of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sits on top of a container ship in Baltimore, Maryland, on 26 March 2024. </span><span>Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images</span>
The steel frame of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sits on top of a container ship in Baltimore, Maryland, on 26 March 2024. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The FBI has reportedly opened a criminal investigation into the deadly collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, with agents looking into the events leading up to the Dali ship colliding with the bridge.

The Washington Post first reported on the existence of the criminal investigation into the collision and collapse, with the investigation beginning in earnest on Monday morning.

Two unnamed sources familiar with the inquiry told the Post that the investigation will also look into whether crew members knew of any serious problems with the ship before attempting to leave the Baltimore port.

Early Monday, federal investigators appeared to board the Dali ship, the Post reported. Shortly after, more people arrived in boats and joined investigators onboard.

Officials have provided little public information on the investigation. In a statement to the Post, the FBI only confirmed that federal investigators had boarded the Dali.

“The FBI is present aboard the cargo ship Dali conducting court authorized law enforcement activity,” read the agency’s statement. No further information was provided about the FBI’s activities or what a potential investigation would look into.

Erek L Barron, the US attorney for Maryland, also declined to confirm the investigation to the Post.

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading its own investigation into the cause of the Key Bridge collapse and other relevant safety issues.

The Baltimore bridge fell on 26 March after the Singapore-flagged Dali ship lost power and struck the bridge on its way to Sri Lanka.

There were 22 crew members aboard the ship at the time of the crash.

Six people died as a result of the bridge collapse. All six victims – workers from Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador – were making repairs on the bridge at the time of the crash.

Two people survived the collapse.

In a statement at the time of the collision, shipping company Maersk, which charted the Dali, said: “We are horrified by what has happened in Baltimore, and our thoughts are with all of those affected.”

The Dali ship had been in a previous accident. The vessel was involved in a collision in 2016 in Antwerp, Belgium, according to Vessel Finder and the maritime incident archive Shipwrecklog.

The ship was attempting to leave port when its stern scraped along the quay. No injuries were reported.

The Baltimore bridge collapse has also forced the port of Baltimore to close in the interim. Officials have opened alternate channels to reroute port traffic.

The US army corps of engineers also tentatively announced that the port would be reopened at “normal capacity” by the end of May, the Baltimore Sun reported.